GIS – 09 November, 2017: The necessity to promote gender equality as a key element for a healthy and prosperous society as well as the basis for human rights was the gist of the speech of the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, this morning at the launch of a one-day Capacity building programme for prison officers on gender issues held at the Prison Training School in Beau Bassin.
The Minister stressed that gender equality lays the foundation for a more sustainable society as it is the solution to many challenges including poverty. On that score, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare is upholding its efforts in reaching out to various audiences to raise awareness on gender concepts, she said. The capacity building programme was jointly organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Defence and Rodrigues (Prison Department) with the objective of equipping officers with necessary knowledge on gender concepts.
The training for prison officers follows a similar initiative held in October for officers from various departments and units of the Mauritius Police Force. The aim is to assist public institutions in mainstreaming gender equality at all levels with a view to eliminating bias and discrimination and finding ways for men and women to have access to the same opportunities. “The next occupational target groups are the nurses and trade unionists,” announced the Minister.
Speaking on the purpose of the capacity building programme, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo stated that the prison officers, after the training, will be much more sensitive to gender issues and incorporate gender perspectives at the workplace. “Officers will be able to draw upon the knowledge and understanding acquired from the capacity building programme and apply a rights based approach in their activities,” she pointed out. The Minister also proposed that the training programme provided by the Police and the Prison Service to new recruits comprises a module on gender concept.
The Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Premananda Appadoo, for his part, recalled that the rate of incarceration for women, standing at around 5%, remains far lower than the rate for men. He underlined that the Mauritius Prison Service provides appropriate services for women in the criminal justice system and that the rights and needs of women detainees are respected. “A Mother and Baby Unit and a Self-Care Unit are among the facilities available for pregnant women and nursing mothers at the Women Prison,” he said.
Regarding the staff of the Mauritius Prison Service, the Commissioner said that women prison officers undergo identical training programme, including physical training and drill, as their male counterparts and enjoy same pay and working conditions. Moreover, he made an appeal for the Prison Service and the Gender Equality Ministry to extend their collaboration so as to come up with a rehabilitation programme for convicted perpetrators of domestic violence and child abuse.
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